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There were six, heavy set guys sitting around a table. It was a round, glass table that barely contained the drinks, leftover pizzas, stacks of chips, and bowls of stale pretzels. There were two packs of cards, one red, one blue – both warped from time, heavy shuffling, and countless beers spilled on them. The chairs everyone sat on varied, some from the kitchen table – muted, brown wood paired with green, patterned fabric that was popular in the ‘90s – some dingy grey and buckled at the seams as they were decades old.
The TV glowed faintly in the background, but none of the guys really cared. They were there to bluster back and forth as they pretended to be poker players. They dropped phrases like, “I’ll see your $5 and raise you $5 more!” and “Nice hand man, if it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.” A big winner on the night would take home $200 and a buzz.
After my initial introduction into poker at seven, it was this scene that drew me into poker and never let me go. I was 10 years old when I first remember them coming over to our house to play cards.